Can you imagine your life without having a car? Shopping, going to work, taking kids to a game or going to the doctor without having a mean of transportation would turn into a nightmare. Your life is spinning in the rhythm of our four-wheeled companion.
In a bug out situation, your life will depend on your vehicle even more, so make sure you take good care of it and prepare it to remain unnoticed.
If you live in the city, bugging out may be less about driving on uneven terrain and more about avoiding rioters and traffic jams.
The vehicle that you are going to use must look like it belongs in the area you are traveling through. Depending on where you are and what is going on, there will be times when you can use these tips, and times when you should adjust them in order to avoid specific problems.
Why Customization is a Failure
Many preppers try to customize their vehicles with lift kits, unusual tire types, roof lights, and other items that may or may not actually expand the usefulness of the vehicle. In most cases, the benefits you may get from this customization does not equal the loss of capacity to blend on city or suburb streets.
Some also believe that a heavily armored tactical vehicle will deter rioters and troublemakers. This is a very bad mindset: mercenaries will see the vehicle as a sign of wealth, and do anything in their power to steal it or kill you to get it.
Essential Parts of a Camouflage Kit
You might travel through different neighborhoods with different wealth levels and cultural values, so a vehicle camouflage kit would be useful. If you haven’t surveyed the areas and mapped them out, then do so before you drive through. At the very least, if you need to make changes to the vehicle, you can do so before driving through.
Always keep a few cans of different colored spray paint, gray primer, and other colors of primer in the vehicle. Gray primer is especially useful because rioters and looters will think the vehicle is junked out and pass it by in favor of vehicles that may have something of value to steal.
You can use these paints to make the vehicle look old and rusted out, or you can use them to spruce up the vehicle so that it looks newer.
Video first seen on mycoolkeno.
Fiberglass body repair kits can also be used to change the appearance of the vehicle. Make sure you have some simple body working tools to do the job right.
Different Color Duct Tape
Use dark colored duct tape to cut down on visible light that can be seen at night from the vehicle headlights, tail lights, and running lights.
Duct tape can also be used to give an illusion it is holding two broken body parts together even if they are intact. You can use this to make doors, windows, and fenders look so old, anyone looking at them would think there is nothing of value in the vehicle.
Rolls of Exhaust System Repair Tape
These rolls of tape can make a perfectly good exhaust system look like it is in very bad shape and is ready to fail at any moment.
Any other decals, stickers, or pieces of metal that can help to give the vehicle an illusion of being a junker, or conversely, like it belongs to a wealthier person that belongs in a specific neighborhood.
When using the camouflage kit, the most important thing is how well you blend into your local surroundings. You don’t want to look too affluent, too weak, or unable to protect yourself.
Find that happy medium that tells the rioters and other troublemakers that you can handle yourself without arousing suspicion of local people that can also cause problems.
Why Choosing Your Vehicle Wisely Makes Sense
It is not easy to find the perfect bug out vehicle that will address your needs and also be easy to conceal. In general, the outer aspects of the vehicle should match the times and styles of the areas you will be traveling through.
Stay away from brand new vehicles, or ones that are so old people will remember them because they look different. The outer body of the vehicle should look between 3 and 7 years old and be common looking.
The Size of the Vehicle
When it comes to hiding your bug out vehicle in plain sight, size is also an important factor to consider. By instinct, you will more than likely want a pickup truck or something large enough to carry a lot of items from one area to another.
In a time of social unrest, however, pickup trucks can easily be a target because they have a stereotype of being rough, reliable, dependable, and able to carry things of great value. On the other hand, a medium sized SUV looks as common and nondescript on a city street as it does on a small town road.
Remember, your vehicle must also disguise who and what you are. The last thing you will want is for people to realize that you are a prepper, and therefore have valuable skills, materials, and supplies. From this perspective, you can get away with a larger vehicle as long as it looks normal for the area.
You might be forced to leave the vehicle in a secure location, including an underground location, in a wooded area, or even parked in a cave. For these situations, you would be better off with a smaller vehicle simply because there are more places where you can hide it with less effort.
What About Trailers
Outside of the question of hiding your vehicle, trailers are useful for bringing along more supplies and even for living space. If you are trying to blend in or drive through a crowd of rioters, a trailer can be a huge liability.
Aside from making your vehicle easy to spot, a trailer can make the entire vehicle harder to handle. Not only will you be unable to simply unhitch the trailer and leave it behind, all avenues of escape may be cut off by masses of people.
Camouflage and Concealment: What You Need to Know
You have to take full responsibility for your own safety, and one of the best ways to do it is to stay inconspicuous. Even if you are armed and well trained, it is still better to avoid being attacked.
Camouflage and concealment are different, but related skills. Concealment is making yourself hard to see. Camouflage is changing something’s appearance so it’s harder to notice. Camouflage does not need to involve making whatever you’re camouflaging look like something else. All you need to do is make sure it doesn’t look like what it actually is.
And here are the six basic aspects of camouflage and concealment you need to learn.
The human eye is naturally drawn to anything that looks out of place or familiar, however large numbers of the same thing can cause viewers to overlook similar items. If there are relatively few vehicles in the area, you will need to make your vehicle harder to see. Vehicles or the shape of a human being will all stand out unless they are disguised, and the most effective way to avoid this is to break up the shape by using a camouflage pattern.
A good camouflage pattern doesn’t work by mimicking the background around it. Instead, it disguises the outline of a familiar or unnatural shape by breaking it into smaller or regular ones. Contrasting colors are the best way to do this. You can borrow the idea of military camouflage patterns to match the surrounding colors.
Another way to camouflage a parked vehicle is to use a camouflage net, but never just drape the net over the vehicle. Support it with poles or cut branches to create an irregular shape. When using poles fit some kind of spreader to the end to keep the net from slipping down over them.
There are many shiny things in nature, and they do attract attention. If the vehicles around yours look shiny and bright, a dull vehicle will stick out and be noticed. Oddly enough, what you wear while you are driving can also draw unwanted attention.
No matter what neighborhood you are driving through, avoid wearing anything that will produce a flash or a shine. Remove all jewelry and your watch and put them in your pocket. Reflections of light on your skin can also be very visible. Use camouflage cream to make it harder for others to see you.
Shine is a big problem for vehicles. If you want the vehicle to look run down and useless, remove or paint any chrome work. Cover it with 100mph tape, or burlap. When the vehicle is parked, cover the windows, lights, mirrors, or anything else that might reflect light with burlap sacks, or better yet an old tarp that makes it looks like the windows might be cracked.
Always be aware of the position of the sun when you stop to rest or shelter. It is possible to be hidden in dense vegetation enough to conceal your vehicle, but still enough light to cast a distinctive shadow on the ground. If you are moving inside of a tree line and throwing a shadow outside of it, the movement of the shadow can reveal that you are there. To hide the shadow move further into the trees.
Even if you have the vehicle parked under a camouflage net, that shadow will give everything away. To get rid of this shadow problem, hang a skirt of burlap around the bottom of the vehicle after you have parked. Another way to break up the shadow is to fill this gap area with light brush. If you can, park in vegetation that reaches a couple of inches above the bottom of the doors. Always pay attention to wheel well shadows that must also be removed.
A silhouette is basically a shape against a contrasting background. The classic way to reveal your position by silhouetting is to cross the skyline. Anyone at or below your level will see your outline. If you are following a ridge line do not move along the crest. Stay off to one side and far enough down so that the ridge is between you and the sky.
If you must cross the high ground, look for cover such as trees or a dip in the ridge. To reduce your silhouette as much as possible, you may have to wait until it is darker and you can drive across undetected.
The sky is not the only thing you can be silhouetted against. You must always be aware of what is behind you. It does not matter how well camouflaged you are. Try to avoid moving in front of anything that is a stronger contrast with your vehicle.
Picking the right location is a huge aid to help minimize silhouettes when picking overnight camps. Remember If your are in cover you are not silhouetted against anything so build your camp in the woods. Pick your locations surrounded by higher ground so anyone approaching will be silhouetted, but you will not.
Metallic and Heat Signature
In the modern age, all kinds of equipment can be used to spot a vehicle no matter how well you disguise it for human eyes. Try coating the vehicle in specialized paints or other materials that will prevent your vehicle from showing up on scans designed to pick up metallic objects in unusual places, or heat signatures from the engine and exhaust.
A muffler in good repair is very important for preventing others from hearing the sound of your vehicle’s engine. Don’t forget to turn off the sound system and anything else that will create too much noise.
Hiding your vehicle isn’t especially complicated if it is your sole objective. As a prepper, however, you will find there are many conflicting needs that will interfere with things that will work best insofar as hiding your vehicle.
In the end, it will be up to you to decide what balance you will draw between all of these opposing needs.
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This article has been written by Fred Tyrell for Survivopedia.